Letter abstract


Nature Nanotechnology 2, 490 - 494 (2007)
Published online: 29 July 2007 | doi:10.1038/nnano.2007.225

Subject terms: Molecular machines and motors | Nanobiotechnology

An autonomous polymerization motor powered by DNA hybridization

Suvir Venkataraman1, Robert M. Dirks1, Paul W. K. Rothemund2,3, Erik Winfree2,3 & Niles A. Pierce1,4


We present a synthetic molecular motor capable of autonomous nanoscale transport in solution. Inspired by bacterial pathogens such as Rickettsia rickettsii, which locomote by inducing the polymerization of the protein actin at their surfaces to form ‘comet tails’1, the motor operates by polymerizing a double-helical DNA tail2. DNA strands are propelled processively at the living end of the growing polymers, demonstrating autonomous locomotion powered by the free energy of DNA hybridization.

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  1. Department of Bioengineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA
  2. Department of Computer Science, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA
  3. Department of Computation & Neural Systems, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA
  4. Department of Applied & Computational Mathematics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

Correspondence to: Niles A. Pierce1,4 e-mail: niles@caltech.edu



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